The BlackBerry Priv was another one of the struggling Canadian company’s big gambles from earlier this year, as CEO John Chen continues to save the firm from the doldrums, if not restore its old glory, which, we’d say, is virtually impossible at this point. No, let’s just put it this way – the BlackBerry Priv may have been BlackBerry’s biggest gamble, period. So far, it looks like that gamble is paying off.
According to BlackBerry, the company earned $548 million in global revenue in the quarter ended November 28. That’s 11.8 percent more revenue than the previous quarter, and the first time since 2013 that the company reported two straight quarterly increases in revenue. But what about the BlackBerry Priv, which was just recently released as the company’s first-ever Android smartphone?
Unfortunately for those dying to know about the Priv’s sales, Chen has chosen to be as tight-lipped as he could, not letting slip even the slightest clue at the phone’s numbers. “The initial 30 days of sales has been quite positive,” said Chen, keeping it as short and sweet as possible. “I don’t want to overhype things. It’s an expensive phone.”
What BlackBerry did announce in its quarterly report is that it had sold 700,000 phones during that period. That’s a couple hundred thousand phones less than what some analysts forecasted, and a hundred thousand less than the number of phones it sold in the prior quarter. On the plus side, BlackBerry did say that the average price of the smartphones sold in its last quarter was $315, a big year-over-year improvement from the November 2014 quarter’s figure of $240. As the Priv is, by far, BlackBerry’s most premium smartphone at $699, that may have been the main driver of the average price increase, and a sign that many of the 700,000 phones sold last quarter may have been Privs. But the question remains the same – how many?
Chen was almost as cagey when he was asked about how his turnaround schemes have been faring so far. “My first goal is to get us into a break-even position with the device business, because you really couldn’t do anything strategically with a business that continues to lose money,” he said. “We’re in that ballpark now.”